Deschutes River, Lower

Click header to see details

8 am
7 30 year
8 am
8 am

Importance by half-month
 Super    Major    Minor    Slight    None

Hatches are matched from Westfly's database of "standard" fly patterns.


Size 16-20 Pheasant Tail, Hares Ear. Brown, brown-olive

Moderate runs, just below riffles: indicator, tight line, rising nymph


Size 16-20 Sprout Midge, Film Critic, Hackle Stacker. Olive-brown body, gray wing

Flats, runs, backeddies: standard dry fly


Size 16-20 Sparkle Dun, Comparadun, Hairwing Dun. Olive-brown body, gray wing

Flats, runs, backeddies: standard dry fly

► Don't ignore spinner falls. They usuall happen around 2:00 p.m. to 4:00. A size 18 Rusty Spinner is a good choice.

► Watch the rise forms during a hatch of blue-wings. If you only see the dorsal and tailfins, the trout are probably taking emergers below the surface. In that case, a good choice is a size-18 emerger.

► On a good day, you can encounter a blizzard hatch of BWOs. This can be hard to deal with because your fly is one speck amid a multitude of naturals. You might try a larger fly, such as a size 16. At this time of year I've been able to get away with a bigger fly during a BWO hatch. It's not only easier for you to spot, but trout are attracted to it too (maybe; no promises!). Sometimes a darker pattern can be more effective, as well.

► Late in the month--after the hatch has been going strong for a week or more--trout may be looking for duns in the backeddies and may take your dry fly even if there is no hatch; they will be looking at the same time of day that the hatch usually happens.

► Early in the month, trout will be more interested in drifting nymphs than the sporadic duns. A good strategy is a two-nymph rig with a heavy fly--Rubber Legs, Kaufmanns Stonefly, etc.--on the point and a small nymph, such as a size-18 Pheasant Tail, on a dropper; use indicator tactics.

► During a hatch, emergers and duns drift into backeddies and become stuck there. That's where most trout will be looking for them.

► Trout and whitefish feed on drifting nymphs prior to the hatch. Emerging duns collect in backeddies, and that is where trout will be waiting for them. This hatch should improve throughout the month, if the weather is not too cold.

► There will be some sort of hatch nearly every day, but some of them will not be strong enough to interest trout. The best hatches will be on drizzly or overcast days. Temperatures near or below freezing will not produce a good hatch. Hatches will gather strength by the end of the month. Hatches will start between noon and 1:00, and last for an hour or two.


Size 12-16 Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulator. Black, dark brown

Bankwater, slow-moderate runs: standard dry fly


► If the river suddenly rises, such as following an intense rainstorm, fishing will be poor until the extra water subsides or stabilizes at a consistent level for a few days.

► This time of year you will find more trout in backeddies and in slower water near the bank than you will in faster water.

► Streamers, such as Woolly Buggers, Morrish Sculpins, and Muddlers can sometimes be productive.

► Be prepared for midge hatches in the warmer parts of the day.

► Trout fishing will be pretty slow at the beginning of the month, but should improve near the end of February.

► Trout will sometimes take drifting roe from spawning whitefish; a peach colored egg fly drifted near the bottom can be effective.

► You may encounter some caddis around mid-month, as well as a few Skwala stoneflies.

► The small black stoneflies are not a prolific hatch, but the adults are seldom ignored by trout when they see them on the water.


► The river is closed from Pelton Dam to river mile 69 (northern boundary of Warm Springs Reservation). For reference, Maupin is at river mile 54, and the Locked Gate is at river mile 61.

► Wait for the river to drop to at least 5,500 cfs before heading over here.

► With the cold weather, the Maupin area can get freezing fog. Also, anglers need to remember that the Deschutes River access roads are not maintained in winter, so a snow storm can make it difficult or impossible to reach the river from the access roads. Black ice can also be a problem.

► Expect cool days, occasional rain (or snow) and sometimes bitter winds. Bring extra clothes in case you slip and get wet. If you're headed over here from the Willamette Valley, be careful on the roads.

► The major tributaries--Trout Creek, Warm Springs River, White River--can dump muddy water into the Deschutes after a big storm. However, if you fish between Warm Springs and Trout Creek you can usually avoid these problems.

► Anglers coming to the Maupin area from Portland may find it faster to go through The Dalles and take highway 197 at this time. While it's farther, you seldom encounter snow, and that can make for a faster, safer trip.

► Take special care not to disturb spawning salmon or walk on their redds (nests; distinguishable by the clean-scraped gravel).

► Many anglers look down their nose at whitefish, the trout's poor cousin, but whitefish are plentiful and they're more active in cold water than rainbow trout. They like small nymphs, so winter is a great opportunity to hone your subsurface skills. Besides, whitefish are better than no fish. Look for them in slow runs and the inside bends of riffle corners.
What to expect in